Modern New Look: Renovations complete at Chamber of Commerce

Published 2:20 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2018

First impressions count, and in an effort to put their best foot forward the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership has renovated the Chamber of Commerce office spaces on Mission 66.

The interior, with its modern furnishings and fixtures along with a more contemporary color scheme, now exudes a fresh sophisticated look, all of which president and CEO of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership Pablo Diaz thinks will reflect the partnership’s new approach to moving Vicksburg forward.

“The Vicksburg Warren Chamber of Commerce, as part of the Economic Development Partnership, is the front door to our community. The chamber offices as they were did not represent the new approach to economic and community development that is being driven by the Partnership. Our new look tells locals, investors, and visitors, not only who we are but also who we aspire to be,” Diaz said.

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With a vision of creating a space that Diaz described as “tech centered, enterprising, cool, historic and art-filled” the newly remodeled facility checks off all the boxes.

From the sleek conference room located to the left of the waiting area in the building to the wall lined with pictures of the river front murals, this is now a space where visitors can not only get a glimpse into Vicksburg’s history, but also its future.    

“We are the most tech-centered community in the state because ERDC is here constantly working on the development of technologies for our military,” Diaz said, “and downtown Vicksburg certainly conveys a unique artsy-type vibe with its unique restaurants and shops.”

Diaz said the necessary renovations were paid for with money the chamber had saved for renovations over the years, as well as significant savings that were generated in staff expenses over the past 15 months.

“The renovation to the facility was needed to help progress our city,” Diaz said. “The Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership is charged with the responsibility (among other things) of forging a new economic development program that can attract jobs and investment to the community. We will not accomplish different results by continuing to do the same old thing over and over.

“To become a strong economic development competitor,” Diaz continued, “we needed change, updated ideas, innovation. Everything about how we do economic development has been changing since last year and this renovation is a reflection of those changes. The renovation will help us accurately and proudly represent to investors who we are and who we aspire to be; an economic development entity that embraces new ideas, innovation, and rapid adaptation.”

The total cost of the project was about $30,000, Diaz said, and because the facility had been well maintained through the years, renovations only included the interior of the building.

“We decided to keep the classical feel of the building on the outside and completely renovate everything from walls to doors to doorknobs and lighting in the inside to showcase our new brand,” he said.

Mary Jane Wooten, who is the owner of Curb Appeals Real Estate and a chamber board member, was in charge of the renovations at no cost to the Chamber, Diaz said, while Barbara Dillon was hired as the interior designer.

“The Board of Directors and the membership are extremely thankful that Ms. Wooten would make such an invaluable offer in support of our community,” Diaz said.

Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership staff members will occupy the office spaces, which includes employees of the Chamber, the Port Commission and any other employees that might be hired in the future by EDF, Diaz said.

However, “the building is open to all Chamber members, as well as members of the public who want to learn more about our community,” Diaz added, “and chamber members can also use all the common spaces of the building like the conference room as part of the benefits of being a member.”

For those who were unable to attend the ribbon cutting of the new facility on Wednesday, Diaz said he welcomes all chamber members and the community at large to stop by and see the space.

“We strive to serve our members and this new space is a perfect way for them to capitalize even more on their membership to the Chamber of Commerce and the Partnership,” Diaz said. “Our chamber members make possible the work we do to develop a more friendly business climate and the type of quality of life that can help us attract more businesses, more jobs, more investment, and more prosperity to all our residents.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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